Whilst we don’t doubt your commitment to watering your plants, having to do so manually every day can be an inconvenience – and that’s where hose and sprinkler timers come in.
Hose timers allow you to program your hose to turn on automatically at a certain time, so you can water your garden without lifting a finger. This means you’re free to go about your business or on holiday, without worrying about your poor thirsty plants back home.
They can also help to save water, by preventing hoses being left on for too long unnecessarily. Sprinkler timers work by stopping and starting the flow of water from your tap, according to your pre-programmed requirements.
To help you find the best sprinkler timer for you, we’ve selected our 5 favourite options on the market, based on their quality, setting options, and how easy they are to program.
Last update on 2021-09-23 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
With one of these fabulous hose timers, your plants and lawn will be looking lush and green in no time.
Our best hose timer allows you to fully customise your watering schedule, and view all your settings on the large LCD display
It was a tough choice to make, but our favourite hose timer has to be this Automatic Water Timer by OMORC.
This technologically-advanced timer uses an air-sealed solenoid valve to stop the water flow, that can withstand water pressure of up to 8-10kg – more than many other water timers on the market. This helps to save power, and reduces the risk of leaks.
You can customise the time and duration of irrigation (up to a maximum of 300 minutes at a time), and a manual delay function allows you to press pause in the event of rain. You can also trigger watering manually at any time.
The large 3” LCD display is easy to read and clearly shows you the current timer settings. This screen switches off automatically after 30 seconds, to prolong battery life. There’s also a built-in child lock, to prevent accidental operation, and avoid wasting water.
Thanks to the universal orange connector, this sprinkler timer can be attached to almost any hose faucet. It’s not the cheapest option on our list, but by no means the priciest either, and considering the number of built-in features, we think it’s great value for money.
- Made from 30% reinforced nylon, for improved durability.
- Set the start time and duration of watering.
- Manual mode allows you to water plants immediately, and delay watering in the event of rain.
- Large 3” display is user-friendly and easy to read.
- Screen turns off automatically after 30 seconds, to prolong battery life.
- Built-in child lock function, to prevent accidental watering.
- Unit is waterproof to IP65 rating.
- Requires 2 x AA batteries to function, which are not included.
This simple sprinkler timer allows for up to 24 watering cycles a day, and offers excellent value
If you’re searching for an even more affordable sprinkler timer, check out this Electronic Water Timer from Kingfisher, which offers you a lot of the same functionality, for a considerably lower price.
The simple design makes it very easy to program. The frequency can be set to come on as often as every hour, or as infrequently as once a week, depending on your plants’ requirements. The duration of each watering session can be programmed to last anything from 1 – 120 minutes.
There’s a manual override feature which allows you to water your plants anytime, regardless of the settings. As with our top pick timer, this one is compatible with most standard hose fittings. The controls aren’t as advanced as our top pick, and there’s no screen, but the basics are all there.
A limited number of online users experienced problems with the battery connections, resulting in the motor not starting, or the device functioning intermittently. It would, therefore, be a good idea to monitor the timer to make sure it’s working correctly, before leaving it for any length of time – for example, to go on holiday.
This might not be the best quality or most advanced hose timer on the market, but in the vast majority of cases, it does do the job – and it really can’t be beaten on price.
- Compatible with most brands of hose fitting.
- Easy to program.
- Set up to 24 watering cycles a day, or one a week.
- Duration of watering can be set from 1 – 120 minutes.
- On/off feature allows you to override the timer when required.
- This is our cheapest hose timer.
- Some users report issues with the battery connectors, resulting in the motor not functioning as it should.
- No screen, or other more advanced features.
This digital hose timer has 2 outlets, allowing you to automate a more extensive garden irrigation system
This Orbit 94148 Digital Tap Timer is unique (to this list, at least) in that it has 2 ports, so you can connect 2 watering systems. This makes it perfect for larger gardens with greater irrigation requirements.
The frequency options provided by this timer are every 6 or 12 hours, or every 1 – 7 days. The watering duration can be set to anything from 1 – 240 minutes, so there’s lots of flexibility to fit around your plants’ needs.
The LCD screen on this one isn’t as large or as clear as our top pick, but at least it’s there, so you can see what you’re programming. A large, easy to read dial makes setting your timer even easier.
As with the other timers we’ve featured, this one has a manual override button, so you can water your plants when you want, without interrupting pre-programmed settings.
There’s also a rain delay function, so you can pause your watering for 24, 48 or 72 hours, all without interrupting the settings. All in all, this is another high-quality digital tap timer, that’s ideal if you need more than one watering system in your garden.
- Built-in diaphragm valve, for improved performance.
- 2 ports, so you can connect 2 hoses/irrigation systems.
- Ports have independent timers, so you can also use just one.
- Watering frequency can be every 6 or 12 hours, or every 1 – 7 days.
- Watering duration can be set to anything from 1 – 240 minutes.
- Rain delay option allows you to pause for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
- Manual override button means you can water whenever you want.
- LCD display is comparatively small.
- This is our priciest water timer.
A high quality and reasonably-priced hose timer that functions well – as long as you keep the frost away
Our next option is this Water Tap Timer by Aqualin, which is made from durable ABS plastic, and functions by using a ball valve to stop and start the water flow. This is another fully customisable model, with a total of 8 watering programs, and 15 frequency settings.
This battery-powered water timer comes with a clear LCD display, to show you the time and watering status. This screen is small and somewhat limited, compared to the large and detailed display of our top pick, but it’s still helpful to have.
There’s also a low battery level indicator, which is highly beneficial, as it will alert you when the batteries need changing, and prevent the device from ceasing to function at an inconvenient time – such as when you’re away. A key lock function prevents accidental over watering.
The connector is a standard ¾”, that will fit the majority of hose pipe faucets, and the device will work with water pressures from 0-8 bar. It comes with a protective cover, which needs to be tightened when using outside, to make it waterproof.
However, be aware that the device is not designed to work in temperatures below 5°C, and you must prevent it from freezing. Other than that though, this is another competitively priced and decent quality water timer, that comes with most of the functions you’re likely to need.
- Made from durable ABS plastic.
- Clear LCD display shows the watering status and time.
- Standard connector to fit the majority of faucets.
- Choice of 8 watering programs (max watering is 8 times a day).
- Total of 15 frequency settings.
- Includes protective cover for waterproofing.
- Key lock function prevents accidental watering.
- Comparatively small display.
- Not suitable for use in temperatures below 5°C.
- Requires 2 x AAA batteries, which are not included.
This water timer comes from a highly-regarded manufacturer, and is perfect for simple watering requirements
Our final choice is this Hozelock Auto Water Timer. Hozelock are a highly popular and respected name in the world of hoses, and it’s clear they know what they’re doing with water timers too.
A range of connectors, to fit ½” ¾” and 1” inlets, makes this option ideal for both users with existing Hozelock set ups, and those with almost any other brand.
This device is extremely easy to program using the dials, and these are pretty self-explanatory, so even if you misplace the instructions, you shouldn’t need to worry. Choose from watering frequencies of 6 hours to 7 days, and durations of 1 – 180 minutes.
There’s no LCD screen on this one, but you will get audible confirmation of program acceptance. As with all the timers we’ve featured, it’s a good idea to check they’re working before leaving them for any length of time, as some users have experienced problems.
Overall, this is a simple yet effective hose timer and, providing you don’t have a faulty unit, it will keep your plants well watered when you’re not around.
- Includes a range of connectors, to fit ½” ¾” and 1” inlets.
- Easy to alter the watering settings using the turn dials.
- Frequency is from 6 hours to 7 days.
- Duration can be set from 1 – 180 minutes.
- Audible confirmation of settings.
- From a reputable and highly-regarded manufacturer.
- No LCD display.
- Some users report issues with the seal on the battery compartment, which can fail and cause the unit to flood.
How Does A Hose Timer Work?
Hose timers can be mechanical or digital, but both work by moving internal parts, to stop and start the flow of water from its source. Mechanical hose timers work with a simple mechanism that allows you to turn a dial to the desired amount of time. The mechanism will then turn off the hose after the designated time has passed. This type of hose timer requires you to be present to turn the dial.
Digital hose timers, such as those featured here, are more advanced. They are battery-powered, and have a ball or solenoid valve, to open and close the water flow. These devices have multiple settings, allowing you to program them to automatically turn your water on and off at customised times. Once set, digital hose timers require no further input from you, other than to periodically replace the batteries.
How To Make Your Own Garden Irrigation System
Creating your own garden irrigation system can be fairly straightforward. You will need a length of ½” PVC tubing to attach to your water source, using a hose connector. Add a backflow preventer here, to stop the used irrigation water from flowing back into your household system.
Use a maximum of 60m of tubing per circuit, and lay it across your garden. From this you can use a hole punch to make ports, in which to attach smaller ¼” tubing, sprinklers and sprayers, to water your plants precisely in the desired location. Connect these parts using leak-proof barbed connectors. Add a hose end clamp at the end of your main tubing, to close the system. For the most efficient irrigation, divide your garden according to the water requirements of the plants, and make sure the water is covering the root zones of all plants. If you add a hose timer at the water source, you’ll be able to automate the entire process of irrigating your garden.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.